At only 26 years old, Parker Millsap has quickly made a name for himself in the world of Americana and blues with tracks like "Truck Stop Gospel," "Old Time Religion," and "Hades Pleads." Millsap visits Sounds Good to discuss his upcoming performance at Paducah's Maiden Alley Cinema.
Parker Millsap, originally from Purcell, Oklahoma, first picked up a guitar when he was nine years old. After becoming interested in blues greats like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton, Millsap switched over to electric guitar and started a cover band with classmate, Michael Rose, who still plays bass with Millsap today. Millsap attributes his lifelong dedication to music to his Pentecostal upbringing. "I feel lucky to have grown up in a context where music wasn't only a commodity, you know. Music can be used for spiritual purposes, and a lot of people just don't experience it that way," Millsap explains. "They experience it by buying records, and culture, and whatever that is. I really appreciate having grown up in a place where music is sacred and where music is used to usher in transformative or meditative or whatever kind of experiences, or even ecstatic experiences."
Since the release of his first full length album, Palisade, in 2012, Millsap has enjoyed tremendous success within the music industry. He was named one of the Americana Music Association (AMA)'s emerging artists of the year in 2014. In 2016, Millsap made his network television debut on CONAN. A performance with Sir Elton John at the Apple Music Festival in London, an Austin City Limits taping, and an AMA nomination for Album of the Year are some of the other accolades Millsap has collected in a short seven years.
Millsap's music has been likened to early Elvis Presley, but he considers his Americana, blues, and folk-rock fusion to be inspired most heavily by early blues musicians. "I wish I was a blues man. That's what I want to be. I'm about 50 years late and all that," Millsap laughs. "That's so much of what I listen to and what I'm thinking about when I listen to music. It stretches so far. Blues music is African music and American music and it's jazz, and it can be pop music. I love it, and that's what made me want to start really playing guitar and writing songs."
Parker Millsap will perform at Paducah's Maiden Alley Cinema on Friday, August 16th at 8 p.m. For more information on the show and how to purchase tickets, visit the Maiden Alley Cinema website. To find music, merch, and upcoming shows of Millsap's, visit his website.
"[At the show], I'll interact with the crowd, but when I'm on stage, I'm always so focused on 'let's make more music,' you know. When I first started out, I talked a lot more to the crowd because I was in house concerts and more acoustic singer-songwriter rooms. But since I've been touring with the full band, it's more like, 'how many songs and how much fun can we cram into one set.' I want it to feel like a good movie, where there's points where you laugh, there's points where you want to cry, there's points where maybe you're angry or scared or unsettled - and then it resolves," Millsap concludes.